TO THE EDITOR:
I am writing to draw attention to a situation that affects thousands of college graduates today. On July 1, 2002, student-loan interest rates dropped, and have continued to drop, dramatically. A quick Internet search can uncover interest rates as low as 1.625 percent for graduates wishing to consolidate their student loans. However, not everyone can take advantage of these remarkably low rates, and indeed some borrowers, myself included, are locked into permanent student-loan interest rates of up to 8.25 percent. This is a result of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which terminates the status of an "eligible borrower" upon consolidation of his or her loans, meaning that once the loans are consolidated, they can never be refinanced. Lenders are making a tremendous amount of money off of those of us with these high, locked-in interest rates. Forty-six percent of loans consolidated since July 1998 are locked in at 6 percent or higher; that is a total of $48 billion. One quarter of those loans, including mine, are locked in at the highest rate of 8.25 percent.
There is nothing I can do to negotiate a lower rate; federal law prohibits me from refinancing. However, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., is trying to change that law, by introducing the bill H.R.2505, the College Loan Assistance Act, which proposes to amend the Higher Education Act to allow borrowers to refinance their consolidated loans. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on June 18, the day it was introduced. That is where it sits today.
See the Support H.R. 2505 online petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/CLAA2003/ and the CollegeLoanAssistanceAct.org message board at http://pub152.ezboard.com/bcollegeloanassistanceact.
If any relief from locked-in high interest rates is to be afforded in the near future to the many student borrowers who have consolidated their loans, the general public must be made fully aware of this important issue.
Sheridan J. Kamberger, Dayton
Malone represents many Cincinnatians
Thank goodness both Peter Bronson and Sam Malone have the courage to say what they believe, to stand behind their words with conviction and to try to make Cincinnati a better place. May I offer my congratulations to Malone on his victory; I look forward to hearing his voice on Cincinnati City Council.
He will represent a great number of city residents who share his attitude toward many issues, especially the suggested boycott. He will truly be an asset on council. I'm glad you reminded us that Councilwoman Alicia Reece shares the same anti-boycott position as Sam Malone. Hopefully, Sam will be able to enlighten other councilmen and city leaders with his refreshing point of view. I have seen many Enquirer pictures of the new Charterite councilman but none of the new Republican, Councilman Sam Malone.
Kerin Hayes, Mount Lookout
Fletcher will be good for Kentucky
November 4 was truly a historic day for our Commonwealth. The voters of Kenton County, indeed the entire state, voted overwhelmingly to elect Ernie Fletcher the governor of Kentucky. Our state and particularly our region will benefit from Gov. Fletcher's leadership and moral determination to clean up the mess in Frankfort.
Long years of embarrassment by Paul Patton and his immoral and corrupt administration will soon be forgotten. Having supported and campaigned for this team since the beginning, I can attest personally that Ernie and Glenna Fletcher, along with Steve Pence and his family, are honest, decent people who share our values of family and community.
Governor-elect Fletcher has vowed to retain only qualified employees and to eliminate unnecessary jobs and government waste long associated with the good-old-boy system of political patronage we have known for so long in this state.
You will not regret your historic vote last week. Thank you for your support of the Republican ticket.
Michael E. Plummer, Covington
Some women much more at risk for cancer
I'd like to take a moment to comment on the letter from Ann Hernick, president of the Breast Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati ["Breast cancer risk increase with age," Oct. 20], which was written in reply to my guest commentary "Diagnose breast cancer early" [Oct. 16] on women at high risk for breast cancer.
First, I agree with her, 100 percent. A majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have any of the risk factors I noted in the column. And, yes, a woman's risk of breast cancer increases with age, as does her risk of developing many other forms of cancer.
The focus of my concern in writing the column was to identify a particular subset of women who are at extremely high risk of developing breast cancer over their lifetime, and note that they may be well suited for the special attention we can provide them at the High Risk and Breast Cancer Prevention Clinic Program at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute of Ohio State. Some women - for a number of reasons - face up to an 80 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, and it is these women who may have special needs with regard to risk assessment, ongoing monitoring, and breast-cancer prevention strategies. It would be a personal tragedy not to afford such a woman the opportunity to recognize that such an elevated risk exists and to determine what best she can do to guard against breast cancer occurrence.
We at The James applaud people like Ms. Hernick who are actively engaged in educating the community about the risk of breast cancer. We also want to make sure that the Enquirer's readers get the most comprehensive information possible.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond.
Stephen P. Povoski, Director, High-risk and breast cancer prevention program, Ohio State University
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